Israeli girl stabbed 4 Palestinians killed

JERUSALEM — Hours after President Clinton set foot on Israeli soil, a 15-year-old Palestinian teenager stabbed a 17-year-old Jewish high school student in the back at the entrance to a West Bank settlement.

Shortly after 8 a.m. Sunday, Tamar Klein was standing with a group of schoolgirls outside the entrance to Shavei Shomron, when Suwad Razel stabbed her in the back and attempted to flee.

A soldier on guard saw the knife and fired in the air as Razel plunged the knife into Klein's back. Together with Albert Nakash, a local resident, he overpowered her as others helped Klein.

Klein was taken to a Kfar Sava hospital with the knife protruding from her back near the right shoulder. After surgery, her condition was listed as serious but stable.

Razel of nearby Sebastiya was taken to a police station, where she told the police she acted independently and decided to attack Jews after reading from the Koran on Saturday night. She reportedly told investigators that she was motivated by Clinton's visit.

West Bank police spokesman Opher Sivan said she had planned to stab Jews and then commit suicide.

The incident followed a week in which four Palestinians were killed during riots marking the 11th anniversary of the start of the intifada, as well as heated demonstrations for the release of Palestinians held in Israeli jails.

Among the dead was Nasser Erekat, the nephew of Palestinian Authority negotiator Saeb Erekat. He died of gunshot wounds sustained during clashes in Abu Dis on Monday of last week.

Another Palestinian died from a gunshot wound to the stomach after he was shot by soldiers seeking to disperse rioters near the Ayosh junction. Two more died last Friday in clashes near the West Bank town of Kalkilya.

At least 100 Palestinians were wounded in weekend rioting as well.

The attack on the Israeli girl shocked the 120-family community. Klein's parents were among the first who settled there some 21 years ago.

Tamar Klein was standing with seven other girls at an information booth set up outside the community in preparation for the lighting of the first Chanukah candle ceremony at Mount Eval and a planned torch-bearing marathon slated to take place in memory of fallen Israel Defense Force soldier Shai Shechter.

Haya Klein told Israel Radio that her daughter, who was fully conscious, asked doctors to cover the knife so that her mother would not be concerned. The nearly 6-inch knife, she said, nicked the lung but did not cause serious internal damage.

"She saw a girl but didn't recognize her, thinking it was someone from the ulpan at the settlement," she said. Suddenly she said she felt something and fell.

Settlers, she said, are on good terms with their neighbors in Sebastiya where the Palestinian girl is from. In response to the attack, residents of Shavei Shomron took over a hilltop opposite Sebastiya.